I think the main difference with our South American Adventure is that we are restricted to bus routes which take you to the main centres. All our other trips we rented a vehicle which gave us a lot more flexibility to discover some amazing hidden gems as opposed to the large centres with the big city issues they bring. Having said that, the smaller villages we have driven through look pretty shabby and I doubt we would want to spend any time there. All in all, it is not what we expected and although we try to remain positive, my health and the physical drain of getting up at the wee hours to take a taxi to the main bus terminal is taking its toll. In my opinion, there are a lot of tourist traps that to me are lot about nothing, expensive, crowded, poorly organized and just not my thing. Tomorrow we are off to Santiago and then on to Valparaiso to end our Chilean leg of the trip.
Chile is expensive. Compared to Peru, you are paying double to triple for virtually everything and it is definitely not worth it in my opinion. Once again, the people are amazing, friendly, obliging and extremely welcoming but the country aint my Shtick!
So I am going to let Leslie write this blog as my state of health is likely tainting my view of South America. Here you go Leslie...
I enjoyed San Pedro de Atacama for what it was...small, dusty, adobe village in the middle of the desert...so when the wind blew you closed your eyes for all the sand. We arranged a tour to visit the Valley of the Moon, which is made primarily of salt covered in sand. The salt formations change all the time due to wind, rain and general erosion. It truly looks like you have landed on the moon. There are large sand dunes interspersed among the salt formations making for a very unique landscape. It was hot, dry & dusty, but a place you won't see anywhere else. Don't worry about booking a tour before you arrive in San Pedro as the streets are full of tour offices and restaurants...you won't have any problem getting to any of the places in the desert you want to visit.